Schools across Chatsworth Thursday participated in a statewide drill, to teach students how to stay safe in the event of an earthquake.
More than 8.6 million California residents registered with the , for what was billed as the world’s largest earthquake drill. And that's a good thing, because there were a couple of jolts Thursday for the folks up north.
A 4.0-magnitude earthquake hit at 2:41 p.m. near Berkeley. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a 4.2-magnitude quake in the same area at 8:15 p.m., but that was downgraded to 3.9.
Locally, Thane Opsell, assistant principal at , told Chatsworth Patch that the school district mandated that they participate in the drill.
“Students will not evacuate the classroom but will take part in a , and hang on to the furniture,” he said prior to the event.
The earthquake drill was scheduled for 10:20 a.m. ’s students are at recess at this time, so they conducted their earthquake drill at 10:40 a.m., when they would be back in the classroom.
Julie Matthews’ second-grade students scrambled under their desks for cover and held onto the furniture when Matthews announced they were having an earthquake.
Chris Ferris, Our Community School’s principal, told Chatsworth Patch that the school’s participation in the Great California ShakeOut is part of a series of safety drills they conduct over the course of the school year.
“We do a more extensive drill twice a year in which classrooms are evacuated and teachers [simulate a] search for missing kids. Emergency supplies, like nonperishable food items, are stored in bins out on the field,” she said.
State agencies participated in the Great California ShakeOut as well.
The Los Angeles Fire Department broadcast simulated emergency messages and conducted realistic-appearing rescue demonstrations.
The Great California ShakeOut scenario envisions a magnitude-7.8 earthquake along the southern San Andreas fault. Such a quake would produce wave movements for hundreds of miles over four minutes.
According to the USGS, some 2,000 people would die, tens of thousands would be injured and more than $200 billion in damage would result from the catastrophe, which would have 50 times the intensity of the Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake.
Hundreds of aftershocks would follow, a few of them nearly as big as the original event, according to the USGS.
Californians should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours following an earthquake or other major disaster. That includes having a first-aid kit, medications, food and enough water for each member of a household to drink one gallon per day, according to local and state officials.
Though not all Chatsworth schools participated in Thursday’s ShakeOut, some scheduled an alternative time for the drill.
“In terms of scheduling, today doesn’t work,” said Nancy Salyers, admissions director at . “We had our earthquake drill yesterday.”